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27.05.2009 10:20

FCB v Manchester United: Did you know?

Roger Bogunyà

Barça and Manchester United meet in the Champions league final tonight. The following trivia provides some interesting background information for the game.

- It is Barça’s sixth appearance in the final. Of the previous five, they won two (1992 and 2006) and lost three (1961, 1986 y 1994). It is United’s fourth final, but they have won every time they have made it so far (1968, 1999 and 2008).

QM3D4739.jpg- Barça is the highest scoring team in the competition. In all they have scored 30 goals in 12 games (2.5 a match). That’s the best average since 1998/99, when Manchester United tallied 2.7 a game. So this game features the highest scoring side (30) against the one that has leaked the fewest goals (6).

- United have not lost in Europe for 25 games. In fact, they haven’t lost since they crashed to Milan, 3-0, in the 2006/07 semi final on May 2.

- Both sides won their leagues on the same day: May 16. Barça won theirs because Madrid lost to Villarreal and a draw was enough for United against Arsenal to guarantee the trophy.

FINAL_COPA_1950-51._CxSAR_AMB_COPA.jpg- FC Barcelona have already won one trophy on May 27. That was in 1951, when they won the Spanish Cup final against Real Sociedad. They won 3-0, with goals from César (2) and Gonzalvo III, the first titles of the Kubala era.

- If United win, Sir Alex Ferguson will equal Bob Paisley’s record of three European Cup titles with Liverpool (1977, 1978 and 1981). Josep Guardiola can also make history by becoming the sixth man to win the competition as both a player and manager, following in the footsteps of Miguel Muñoz, Giovani Trapattoni, Johan Cruyff, Carlo Ancelotti and Frank Rijkaard.

- Thierry Henry has the most experience of scoring goals against United. With Arsenal he scored 9 times in 18 games against the Red Devils.

- This is the second meeting between the teams in a European final. The other was the Cup Winners Cup Final in 1991, played in Rotterdam and won by United, 2-1.

- Guardiola, Scholes and Giggs are all set to renew old rivalries. As players, they all crossed paths in the group stages in 1994/95. At Old Trafford, Paul Scholes was making his European debut. The Englishman and Welshman (and Gary Neville too) also faced Barça in 1998/99, and both scored in the 3-3 draw at Old Trafford.

- No side has retained the title since 1990, when Milan won consecutive championships.

RIMG0045.JPG- Two of the three previous finals in Rome’s Olympic Stadium have had an English winner, Liverpool on both occasions. The last final had no British presence, and no Spanish club has ever played the final in Rome.

- A team has won a treble every decade since the sixties, and Barça could continue that trend tonight. It would be the first of the 21st century and also the first for a Spanish club.

- United have only lost two games this season after scoring first, and both times against Liverpool. At Anfield, Benítez’s side came from behind to win 2-1, and at Old Trafford they ended up winning 1-4. An early United goal is rarely good news for the opposition.
FCB v Manchester United: Did you know?
The referee
Massimo Busacca, aged 40, will referee the final. The Swiss official, an international since 1999, has watched over 32 Champions League matches, including this year’s Porto v Manchester Utd quarter final. He also refereed the Barça v United semi final last season and the UEFA Cup final between Espanyol and Sevilla in 2007.

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